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Protecting the Vulnerable

Perhaps one of the last taboos in society, the existence of elder abuse is a sad fact in many countries around the world. Demographics indicate it will unfortunately continue given the increasingly ageing population worldwide. The United Nations predicts the global population of people aged 60 years and older will more than double from 900 million in 2015 to about 2 billion in 2050.

To bring this repugnant form of abuse into the uncomfortable light of day The United Nations General Assembly has designated June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. As a provider of aged care RSL LifeCare endorses and encourages increased awareness and vigilance not only within our organisation but also within our entire community.

RSL LifeCare is committed to our “See It, Say It” approach: If any employee, resident, visitor or volunteer sees or hears anything of concern it is their responsibility to tell someone about it immediately. As an organisation founded on veteran care, it is appropriate to quote the words of Lieutenant General David Lindsay Morrison AO, former Chief of Army (June 2011 – May 2015), in a message regarding unacceptable behaviour of a different nature in 2013, “If you become aware of any individual degrading another, then show moral courage and take a stand against it … The standard you walk past, is the standard you accept.” Morrison attributes his now famous quote to David Hurley, former Chief Australian Defence Force and most recently Governor of NSW.

It is RSL LifeCare’s responsibility, and the responsibility of all members of our society, to respond to this form of aggression not by ignoring its uncomfortable truth but by calling it out, and therefore defending and caring for our older generations to the best of our abilities.

RSL LifeCare operates under the Aged Care Act 1997. All RSL LifeCare employees must abide by RSL LifeCare’s Code of Conduct and Responsibility of Employee and by RSLLC’s Compulsory Reporting Guidelines for Residential Care and Packaged Care. All Policies and Procedures for Incident Reporting, Compulsory Reporting Guidelines and Whistleblower Reporting Policy are clearly outlined on our employee intranet. On commencing work with RSL LifeCare all employees must complete an interactive learning module on their responsibilities and obligations for identifying and reporting anything of concern.  To support this initial learning, the critical role we all have in ensuring the safety of the residents in our care continues in discussions at employee meetings and completion of annual learning modules to support our “See It, Say It” approach.

It is our moral responsibility as an organisation to take action to ensure the safety and comfort of our residents, but it is also our responsibility to care for all older Australians in our society. As Mahatma Ghandi famously said “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members”.

 

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